It is rather singular that traditional medicine used Colchicum so much for gout. In all the old books it was recommended for this malady. The provings corroborate the fact that Colchicum fits into many conditions of gout.
Rheumatism: Acute rheumatism and uric acid diathesis; rheumatic complaints in general, with swelling and without swelling. But traditional medicine does not tell us what kind of gout to give it in or what kind of rheumatism.
It was really the medicine of experience. “if it is gout, try Colchicum.”
The question of what was to be done with the patient when the remedy failed never came up.
It was “Give the prescription and keep at it,” and drugs were administered until the patient, steadily growing worse, passed from one doctor’s hands, to another’s. It is true that Colchicum fits into the gouty state. Spells of cold, wet weather will slack up the flow of urine, make it scanty, or decrease the quantity of solids in the urine.
This takes place in the provings of Colchicum and has been verified many times. It is well known that such a condition will bring about or intensify the gouty state. If the solids in the twine are deficient, if they are not carried off in the urine, something must happen, and the gouty state comes on.
Colchicum is aggravated by cold, damp weather; by the cold rains in the Fall. It is aggravated by anything that will debilitate. It is aggravated in the extreme heat of summer; it has a summer rheumatism; the heat will slack up the flow of urine or the quantity of solids in the urine.
A striking feature running through the remedy is its tendency to move from one joint to another, from one side to another, from below upwards, or from above downwards. Rheumatic conditions with swelling, or without swelling; first here, next there, changing about from place to place.
Dropsical condition: Another striking feature is the general dropsical condition. When the hands and feet swell, and there is pitting on pressure. Dropsy of the abdominal cavity, of the pericardium; of the pleura and dropsy of serous sacs. Swellings that are inflammatory and rheumatic; swellings that are dropsical, with pale urine. Whether copious or scanty, still it is pale.
Muscular rheumatism and rheumatism of the white fibrous tissues of the joints. Rheumatic troubles that have been going on for some time, will end in cardiac troubles. When cardiac troubles with valvular defects are present, almost the first thing the busy doctor thinks of is a history of rheumatism.
Let me say that a part of the study of Materia Medica consists in the observation of sick people. A busy physician learns without books, though of course he should familiarize himself with the literature, so that from reading, as well as observation, he may acquire a knowledge of the general nature of sickness.
When he listens to the patient’s story or makes a physical examination, he knows how such cases usually conduct themselves. He knows what to expect. He knows the natural trend of sickness and instantly recognizes what is strange and unusual. He will not recognize what is strange and unusual unless he knows what is natural.
So your books on symptomatology and pathology, diagnosis, etc., will tell you much of this, but as you gain experience in homeopathic practice you will get a much finer idea of this because your Materia Medica teaches you to observe more closely.
The Materia Medica man learns to single out and trace every little thing in order to individualize. So it may be said that years of observation in studying disease, studying the sick man along with the Materia Medica, will open to the mind a much grander knowledge of the sicknesses of humanity than can be had by practicing traditional medicine. Traditional medicine benumbs the ability to observe.